Wildcats push win streak to seven after wild pitch in final inning

Photo by Parker Robb | The Collegian Senior third baseman RJ Santigate hits a single to center field in the fifth inning of the Wildcats' 3-2 defeat of Iowa in the first game of the series Friday.

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and the bases loaded, momentum was swinging K-State’s way as senior third baseman RJ Santigate stepped into the batter’s box. However, it was not Santigate who provided the heroics, but rather a wild pitch from Nebraska-Omaha senior pitcher Anthony Falcone, that allowed freshman left fielder Clayton Dalrymple to scamper home from third base and take the win for K-State in dramatic fashion.

“You never know what can happen,” head coach Brad Hill said. “We won a couple games like that last year, so we’re fortunate. We’ll take it. It’s a win.”

After starting their season off with a 1-7 record, the Wildcats climbed above .500 to 8-7 with their win over the Mavericks, who dropped to 5-8 on the season. K-State now holds a seven-game winning streak, the team’s longest since 2012.

K-State jumped out to an early 2-0 lead through the first three innings, while starting pitcher Nate Griep kept the Mavericks at bay for most of the start, cruising for the first four innings.

The freshman righty performed well in his first start on the mound in his Wildcat career, allowing three runs – one earned – off two hits over 5 2/3 innings with five strikeouts and two walks.

“It was his first time out there in that situation and he’s still trying to figure it out a little bit,” Hill said on his starter’s performance. “I thought he made really good pitches the second through the fifth (innings).”

With the Wildcats up 2-1, Griep was pulled with two outs and two men on base in the sixth inning for freshman Jordan Floyd, but a two-run double followed by an RBI single gave the Mavericks a 4-2 lead.

The lead was a short-lived one though. A double from junior shortstop Austin Fisher started a rally in the bottom of the inning, and a walk from Santigate put runners on first and second for junior right fielder Mitch Meyer.

Meyer may have entered the game hitting just .148, but after slugging almost .500 last season, the junior is certainly capable of changing the game with one swing of his bat, which he demonstrated by clubbing a ball over the fence in right field for a three-run homer to give K-State a 5-4 lead.

“I got down in the count and my first two at-bats were kind of bad,” Meyer said of the home run. “There was a little frustration in the swing, but I was able to stay on a change-up and put it out and get some runs for the team. It was a good feeling. I always feel more confident when there’s runners on base so give credit to the guys who got on base before me.”

However in the eighth inning, it was Omaha’s turn to erase a lead with a homer, as senior outfielder Alex Schultz sent a solo shot to right field to tie the game at 5-5.

A perfect 1-2-3 inning by sophomore Jake Matthys sent K-State to bat in the bottom of the ninth, where hits from Dalrymple, senior center fielder Ross Kivett, and a walk from infielder Shane Conlon set up the scene for the walk-off win.

Kivett and Dalrymple each had two hits on the night, while Meyer led all players with three RBIs.

The Wildcats will play again at home again this Friday, Saturday and Sunday as they welcome Northern Colorado and try to avenge the Bears’ win over the K-State basketball team back in November.